First Holy Communion spending increases to £729
THE amount parents are spending on a child's First Holy Communion has increased by more than a quarter over the past year.
Families spent an average of £729 on the occasion - soaring by £160 on the 2018 figure. The cost has now reached a seven-year high for Northern Ireland families, according to findings from the Ulster Bank.
But as outgoings for parents rise, there’s better news for the children, who saw an increase in the value of gifts received.
The survey, which sampled parents living in the north with a child who made their First Holy Communion this year, found that kids pocketed an average of £345 from family and friends for the occasion.
This marked an increase of £17 on the 2018 figure and the second highest amount gifted since the survey began in 2012.
Just under 40 per cent of the total amount spent by families went towards marking the occasion, with an average of £280 going on parties, celebrations and food and drink.
Children’s outfits accounted for close to a third of the total budget, while the rest was divided among clothes for
- other family members (£175)
- children’s entertainment (£107)
- hair and make-up (£44)
While spending for survey respondents was up overall on 2018 figures, costs for clothing other family members and amount spent on grooming were both marginally lower than in previous years, dropping by 5% and 19% respectively.
Families with girls making their First Holy Communion incurred bigger costs, spending £807, which was around 24% more than families with boys marking the occasion.
The majority of families financed their child’s special day themselves (98%) with less than a fifth receiving support from friends or family.
Two per cent of families of surveyed claimed to have taken out a loan to meet the costs of celebrations.
This year’s class of first communicants spent a total of 35% of the money they received, with toys (43%) the most popular choice, computer games (26%) and clothes (25%).
Spending on books from money received was also at a seven-year high with 21% of children surveyed buying books with their money.
According to the survey, 72% of children will place a proportion of their First Communion money in a savings account opened in their own name.
Terry Robb, head of Personal Banking at Ulster Bank, said he was pleased to see children saving at a young age.
"For many children, making their First Holy Communion is the first big occasion they experience and while it’s nice to buy a new toy or computer game to mark the event, we’re pleased to see the majority of children putting all or part of this money into a savings account," he said.
"It’s never too early for children to learn about the importance of saving for the future and we believe being exposed to positive saving habits at home can help these children grow up to be financially responsible."